Commercial toothpaste contains many chemical and controversial ingredients, including triclosan, glycerine, and saccherin. However, fluoride is the main reason why the FDA insisted that toothpaste carry the poison warning. Part of the poison risk comes from the child’s still-developing swallowing skills; instead of spitting the toothpaste out, they may swallow it instead.
Excessive fluoride may cause dental fluorosis and acute fluoride poisoning. Dental fluorosis damages tooth enamel, causing white or discolored stains on the teeth. The symptoms of acute fluoride poisoning include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. Other studies are researching for a link between child diabetes and fluoride toothpaste, as past studies implied there is a connection between fluoride and high levels of glucose. Besides the potential dangers of fluoride, several of the other chemical ingredients do not actively clean your teeth. According to the FDA, triclosan, a chemical often found in soaps and body washes to fight bacteria, is not more effective than triclosan-free soaps. Triclosan is a common toothpaste ingredient, yet it has no proven benefits to toothpaste.Some, like sodium laurel sulfate, may irritate the skin.
There are several brands of natural toothpaste, but making homemade toothpaste is simple and cost-efficient. It is considered much safer than commercial toothpaste because there are no unnecessary chemicals added. Most kinds of natural toothpaste consist of herbal extracts and plant oils such as coconut oil and baking soda. Due to minimal ingredients, homemade toothpaste is very concentrated so a small dosage is very effective at cleaning teeth, killing bacteria, and giving fresh breath. Homemade toothpaste flavors can be customized to reflect your favorite tastes, such as coconut, cinnamon, or peppermint.
Contributed by Diana Dubs, intern extraordinaire